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hug_of_war's avatar

I lost a lot of weight and gained it all back, what to do?

Asked by hug_of_war (9891 points ) May 21st, 2014 from iPhone

Several years ago I decided to lose weight. I went from 190 to 152. Then I graduated from college and I’m now back to 185.

I’m devestated and have no idea what to do. I don’t eat fast food, I eat 2–2.5 cups of veggies a day and several peices of fruit. I know how to cook healthy. I like whole grains, veegetables and fruits. Not a big meat eater.

I really struggle with portion sizes, even of healthy foods. I really have a hard time turning down food (which is relatively frequent at work).

I count calories. I always mess up. I plan my meals weekly but I just struggle to not indulge. I love to cook, and to cook healthy.

It seems so easy, and I swore I’d never regain but here I sit.

I have no children or boyfriend so no one cares if I die early of obesity.

I don’t know what to do anymore. Despite all this weight gain, I have never stopped trying to lose weight.

Maybe it’s all pointless and being fat is my destiny. I’m so tired of trying and trying and only bad coming of it. I feel at the end of my weight loss rope.

Exercise only feels like a punishment to me, no matter how fun it is to others (except walking). I’ve never found an exercise I enjoy, I just try to do things that are anti-fun in the hopes it’ll help but it never has any effect on my weight.

I have all the knowledge, but I’m still failing. What do I do?

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16 Answers

keobooks's avatar

Go to myfitnesspal.com . At the very least, you can get some moral support from hundreds of people who have been where you are now. They also help you with stuff like measuring foods and portions so you don’t mess it up.

gailcalled's avatar

Do you have any female friends whom you can be eating buddies with?

Do you have a therapist nearby to discuss the psychological ramifications? S/he can give you an emotional boost.

I have had friends who have done well with Weight-watchers…and the weekly meetings with real people who support each other.

Any sysem that encourages your going it alone may well backfire, from what you’ve told us.

hug_of_war's avatar

To add: I own and use daily a food scale so I know what I should be eating but I still frequently go off rails

gailcalled's avatar

You need some coping skills beyond the mecanical ones.

Scales, portion control, calorie counting, food choices, and anti-fun exercising only work if you can act on them routinely.

Most of us can spout the party line about how to take off and keep off weight. That’s not your issue.

Stinley's avatar

The hardest thing about dieting isn’t the weight loss but the maintenance. Try to maintain your current weight for a while like a few months. Theb you will know what it takes to stay the same. when you get back to losing weight again, you will have that knowledge to help you maintain.

JLeslie's avatar

I care if you are healthy and happy.

Don’t beat yourself up, most people struggle with keeping weight off that they have lost.

Can you eat much more veggies to keep the calorie count down?

Do you exercise? Most of dieting is what you eat, but exercise can help a little bit and is good for your health.

GloPro's avatar

Sorry, but you have to find a way to exercise.

hug_of_war's avatar

I do exercise but I hate it so much I lack consistency.

kevbo's avatar

You should rule out any medical cause, such as hypothyroidism, which is pretty common and messes with your metabolism.

Keeping to reasonable portion sizes and saying no to work food (especially when you aren’t hungry) is something to figure out and it indicates possibly that you are feeding something other than your body, like worries or nervousness about things.

Alternatively, you could be medicating your body with food. That’s what I used to do. I did a poor job of managing my hypothyroidism, which made me feel awful, and I used food to feel better chemically.

Regarding exercise, my advice is to only make the smallest, least painful change. (Like-driving-past-the-gym-every-day small.) Work only on that until you can sustain it and only then move on to something more challenging. Before you know it, you will have good momentum with no worries at all about failing.

Can you envision yourself smaller? I realized during my weight loss process that at the beginning it was difficult to imagine what that would mean. I had been a big guy for so long that it seemed normal.

I would also say to avoid wheat and sugar. First, sugar begets sugar. Second, wheat may mess with you. I’ve been off it long enough to notice a difference when I do indulge. My abdomen gets bloated or swollen, and my whole GI situation is noticeably less pleasant. I don’t know much about the whole gluten controversy, but I know the difference in my body.

Last, I would encourage you to start seeking the solution in earnest from a spiritual or heart-centered place. Like you said, you have all the information. Thinking more or harder or better is probably not going to solve the problem. My money is on a spiritual or heart-centered solution. Pray or meditate or do whatever feels spiritual and heart-centered to you to trade your frustration with some guidance, wisdom or even magic. It can work.

I lost 30 lbs from this past July to Nov, and I’ve kept it off. What started it all for me was deciding to work my way up to 100 pushups. So at 248 lbs, that’s all I bothered to do for 10 weeks.

Somewhere along the way, I started praying for better dreams before I fell asleep. Instead of having anxious dreams like I used to, I had the same dreams but was not an anxious person in them.

In May and June last year, I came upon a meditation practice. As I grew into it, a lot of worries and chunks of my life that were a struggle just fell away.

I started to pay attention to my thoughts about eating, and I notice that I had multiple thoughts per hour about having something to eat when I wasn’t really hungry. So for a while, I had this conversation: “I should eat something. No, I’m not hungry.” This happened for weeks and throughout the day but eventually abated.

I also realized that I wasn’t going to starve. That allowed me to try eating only enough to get to the next meal. If I got hungry in between, I’d eat just enough. I found that to be a really good practice.

Eventually, too, my appetite and my hunger changed. I went from having rabid hunger that demanded a binge to a pleasant gnaw that I learned I could take care of either now or an hour from now. That in itself was pretty miraculous, because it freed me from being driven by the food. My change in appetite, which I attribute to some grace, was doing the heavy lifting now instead of me.

So I went from 248 to 218, and I’ve pretty much plateaued since Nov. despite adding running a few miles most days of the week. I’ve also been more lax with my eating habits, but I’m just waiting for the next window of really clean eating to come along for some more weight loss. What absolutely amazes me is how little I really need to eat to get through the day. It’s a fraction of what I used to eat, and it can amount to pennies at the checkout.

So, it really doesn’t have to be hard if you have some patience. And it doesn’t take much patience because if you lose 5 or 10 lbs you’re going to feel loads better guaranteed. So give up on brute force and willpower and tune in to the universe (whatever that means for you—and the tuning in part is your work) and let it push you in the right direction.

tedibear's avatar

You have not failed. Dieting, whether it’s called a diet, a program or a lifestyle change, does not work on any type of permanent basis. 95% of people who have lost a significant amount of weight via dieting do not keep it off for more than 5 years. Even Weight Watchers won’t release their success rates to their members beyond 2 years because they don’t want people to get discouraged. (AKA, it doesn’t work long term but we don’t want to lose the profits.) Please, do whatever you can to not beat yourself up for this.

I say that not to be discouraging, but to help you understand that you didn’t mess up. If there are self-esteem issues involved, that’s where a good therapist can help. He/she may have strategies to help you build healthy habits. He/she can also help you to figure out why you think losing weight will help you. What is best for your body is to make as many healthy choices as you can for it. You already know what those are – eat food that is “good” for you, exercise regularly, try to de-stress and get enough sleep. (Those are a few. You likely know more of what helps your body. It is yours, after all.)

There is an alternative – Health at Every Size . It’s about learning to do things for your health and to stop doing things that are only for weight loss.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

your story is typical of most people who go on diets and loose weight only to gain it all back. The secret to losing weight and keeping it off is to not go on a “diet”. You have to change your whole life style, change your eating habits forever. By eating correctly forever you make good eating habits a new life time habit. I know that doing this is not as easy as it sounds. Good luck.

Aster's avatar

We don’t know your height or muscle mass. I think it’s a tragedy how everyone in this society is miserable unless they’re model/actress skinny. It’s so hard to measure up. Luckily for me, I was always thin during all my dating years even up to age fifty. I thought it would always be like that. Now I see older women who are thin and to me they don’t look young and sexy regardless. Far from it. They often look pale with liver spots and dry, gray hair and bags under their eyes. But they’re not fat!!
We as a society need to find contentment in other things besides the scale. If truly obese it’s a different matter, of course. So much of this is genetic. My ex MIL’s sisters smoked cigarettes for decades, one was obese and they all lived to about ninety. She lived to 96, was “hippy” with a small waist. And I never heard one word out of them about their weight. They were or appeared to be happy go lucky women who just enjoyed life and their homemade pies.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Exercise only feels like a punishment to me, no matter how fun it is to others (except walking).

So why aren’t you walking. An hour a day or two miles a day (whichever comes first) will really show changes within a month.
Add to that a NO SUGAR policy and you will see inches zip away.

Also, go easy on high sugar fruit. Sorry, but those add weight too.

JLeslie's avatar

Walking counts. Don’t feel badly that you hate exercise. @kevbo suggesting checking your thyroid is a good idea. A slow thyroid can make you feel like you don’t want to do much of anything, literally it can make you lose your zest for life. A fast thyroid can make you want to eat everything. Along with thyroid I would check your vitamin D and iron also. Your doctor might have already have checked all of these, but you can look at the lab work and see if any of your numbers are close to being outside of normal and consider it something to think about.

Unbroken's avatar

Maybe that’s it…. It’s too much of a job. Really counting calories weighing food all that crap seems excessive and a depressing trial.

It seems as if your punishing yourself even though you originally met your goal. Be kinnd to yourself.

Also is there something missing that helped you lose and keep the weight off originally? Maybe you were busier or had a hobby that consumed more time.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, weigh yourself every day. I saw a study that followed people who had successfully kept their weightless off for more than 5 years, and the majority of them weighed themselves every day. They credited that practice with not letting themselves gain more than a few pounds before adjusting what they ate to make sure they kept themselves in check. I weigh myself daily to lose weight and keep it off and it works for me. When I stop doing I tend to gain weight back.

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